Monday, October 30, 2006

Short Fiction

I can't even pretend that I've read everything published this year, or even something approaching a broad spectrum of the short fiction published. But I have read some wonderful stuff. Most recently, in Asimov's SF, William Barton's "Down to the Earth Below" this is a marvellous, bittersweet, and joyous novella, think Stephen King's "The Body" mixed with the pulpy wonders of Burroughs (Edgar, not William).

William Barton is one of my favourite short story writers, and has been ever since I read "Down in the Dark" a grim, but ultimately hopeful tale of first contact in a solar system running down after earth has been struck by a comet. Check his stuff out, he's an author deserving of more attention, and one with, what I consider anyway, a particularly unique voice.

The other recent standout is "Jable Sharks" from Neal Asher's The Engineer Reconditioned – a particularly enjoyable collection. Possibly one of the best tales of nautical horror I've read in a long time, and one that makes me wonder what Neal's fantasy fiction might be like. I can tell you that William Hope Hodgson would have dug this one. It's grim and gory and ends on a suitably dark note. Neal Asher understands the horror of multitudes, and he shoves that horror in your face, bleeding and squirming and trying to bite you. Pretty cool.

Odd Blog

Well, never try posting late at night, or you'll end up double posting, losing the post then finding that they weren't posted at all, and are up on your blog, and then you'll be cursed with a cold.

Feeling very bleagh today, stumbled to work, stayed an hour and stumbled home and went to bed, just woke up and it's dark outside. Bleagh.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mountain October


This is Mt Ruapehu. Behind me was a snowfield packed with skiers, but here there was no-one, just me in the midst of one of the most amazing landscapes I had ever seen. I close my eyes and I am there, I don't even want to describe the place, because all that does is snatch away the images behind my mind and substitute them with nouns and verbs (which I love, but are mostly inadequate, which is what makes them at once fascinating and disappointing) .
October is an interesting month in my family.
This month I celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary, and the birth of a nephew, and my sisters birthday, and my parents - who were born in the same hospital, a day apart - both turned sixty, which makes me feel a little old. And I also stood on that mountain, and after this photo was taken, I stared at my wife, and the world just seemed a little more intense, and I was so glad that I was there with her, though once again, (on account of the problem - the most glaringly obvious problem, and the most worthwhile - with words*) I can't really tell you how glad.
I am writing about an Empire called the Empire December, because I like the word December, and my birthday is in December, but it's October that's most fascinating to me, because my birth, well was just a birth, but October is the birth of the things that made me, that continue to shape me. My parents and my marriage. See how inadequate words are? Let's leave it at that.
*which doesn't even begin to address the peculiarities of my sentence structure

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So tomorrow's Horror Day

Tomorrow's Horror Day. I'm off for after work drinks so I doubt I'll be doing much in the way of blogging tomorrow afternoon, so here are some of my thoughts on Horror.

I love horror fiction, not such a fan of horror movies, basically because I'm a coward, and our couch is up against the wall so I can't hide behind it.

The first horror story that really had an impact on me was HP Lovecraft's "The Colour from Space" I remember reading it on the couch and having to lift my feet up just so nothing could grab them - which actually had little to do with the book and everything to do with the creatures that lived under our couch, I am the oldest in my family basically because I managed to avoid being devoured, we don't speak about it much, but I sure miss my older siblings, and their screams will haunt me until the end of my days.

We burnt the couch on Friday the 13th november 1987. The moment the match hit that cheap, and highly flammable couch fabric, the couch began to scream. The screaming didn't stop until well after the greasy smoke had lifted, and we'd kicked the smouldering wood and springs into an ashy pile. The bodies we found beneath it, desiccated, eyes devoured, we buried in the backyard. Two years later they pulled themselves from the earth and began a killing spree the likes of which Gunnedah had never experienced – didn't matter to us, we'd already moved to Lismore. Yeah, so one day we'll go back and stop that undead, unspoken evil, but what's the hurry?

Here's a story I wrote a long time ago. Feel free to laugh. It may well be the only Cthulhu Mythos story set in Byron Bay, it may also be one of the worst things I've ever written, but it's horror, and occasionally you have to reveal your secret shame.

If Horror's your bag you might want to check this out.

****
On another note Neal Asher's "Prador Moon" was excellent, a lot of fun, and a fine distraction from the flight. What's more I bought a copy of "The Engineer Reconditioned", Asher's short story collection, over there, and it is a very fine collection indeed. Also noticed that my mate, and Redsine co-editor, the very talented Garry Nurrish did the cover design. It's a small world.

Well, I'm back

So I'm back from New Zealand, which is a truly beautiful country, there's snow capped mountains and everything. Here's me lost in Auckland.